Rare Disease Report

10 Questions to Ask Polycythemia Vera Patients

SEPTEMBER 13, 2016
Srdan Verstovsek, MD, PhD

Verstovsek: Responsive therapy in polycythemia vera has changed over the last few years. Recognizing that we do not need to control only red blood cell count, we should also control white cells, platelets, spleen, and symptoms. The acutest case here is how to asses those responses beyond just looking at the blood cell count. How do you actually assess in particular response in the symptoms? One way, obviously, is to ask a patient, how do you feel? And then you say you feel better, you don’t feel better, and how much better. But development of the questionnaire has happened over the last several years that many of my colleagues in my community practice used to document properly and this is a questionnaire of about 10 questions that can be given to a patient to fill out before the doctor comes in the office to properly assess all the aspects of what can happen and what polycythemia vera patients can experience and detect to the myeloproliferative neoplasm specific questionnaire, one can have a better grasp of improving the quality of life.

This is not only for polycythemia vera but also for other myeloproliferative neoplasms. So, assessment utilize therefore on an assessment of improving symptoms, spleen if it’s enlarged, and the blood cell count looking at the red blood cells, white cells and platelets.


Response to therapy in patients with polycythemia vera is complicated. Srdan Verstovsek, MD, PhD of the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas describes a questionnaire that can be used to properly assess how well patients are responding to treatment.

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